Dr. Rosa M. Cabrera became the director of the Rafael Cintrón Ortiz Latino Cultural Center at UIC in the spring of 2011. She earned her Doctorate in Anthropology and Bachelor of Arts in Design from UIC. For ten years she directed The Field Museum’s "Cultural Connections" program, a partnership of more than 25 ethnic museums and cultural centers in Chicago that formed the Chicago Cultural Alliance in 2006 under her leadership.
Cabrera has taught anthropology and social justice courses for teachers, community leaders and college students, and has talked extensively on the role of ethnic museums and cultural centers in shaping community identity–which was the topic of her dissertation. She has collaborated with the museum community in national projects such as the "Immigration Sites of Conscience Network," the "National Diversity Education Program," and the "Race: Are We So Different? Project" to increase public dialogue on pressing contemporary issues, while exploring the interplay between diversity and democracy.
Prior to coming to UIC, she led a research team in a project with the Pilsen neighborhood’s Mexican and Mexican American community and the West Ridge’s South Asian community to better understand how cultural values and traditions impact residents’ understanding and practice of eco-friendly activities. She is an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Anthropology, Latin American and Latino Studies Program, and Museum and Exhibition Studies.
Cabrera is a 1.5 generation immigrant from Cuba who arrived with her mother in Chicago during a grey, snowy day in the 1970’s. She calls Chicago home and loves its parks, ‘L’ (elevated train), magnificent museums, diverse neighborhoods and people.
Mario A. Lucero is the Assistant Director of the UIC Latino Cultural Center (LCC). He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Illinois Institute of Art and received his Master's in Latin American and Latino Studies from UIC.
As an artist and educator, Mario values the power of art, cultural diversity and the humanities as contributing factors for positive social change. He has taught GED classes in Spanish at Triton College, and has organized with the Latin@ Youth Action League (L@YAL) for Immigrant Rights and Reproductive Justice. On campus, he engages Latina/o students through interactive public programming and intercultural Arts-Based Civic Dialogues to address pressing social issues affecting the lives of Latinos and Latin Americans while making connections to other communities. He is currently collaborating with the Centers for Cultural Understanding and Social Change (CCUSC) at UIC on a new initiative called “Reimagining Masculinity” to discuss issues of masculinity, privilege, and intersecting identities through storytelling and candid dialogue.
Mario Lucero is a son of first-generation immigrants from the Mexican states of Durango and Chihuahua, and was born in El Paso, Texas but raised in the Western Suburbs of Chicago. He lives in Oak Park with his wife Cynthia and two daughters, Jocelyn and Marlene, and enjoys cycling with friends and playing soccer and tennis.
Edith Tovar was born and raised in Chicago’s Little Village Community. As a first generation Mexican-American, she grew up with close ties to her Mexican heritage. As a teenager she was part of a traditional folkloric dance group where she learned how to "zapatear," but most importantly she learned the meanings behind all the colorful and cheerful movements of a Mexican traditional dance.
Being the youngest of four, she was the second in her family to graduate from a university. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish-Economics with a minor in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Further, in January of 2011, Edith was employed as a Student Worker at the Rafael Cintrón Ortiz Latino Cultural Center at UIC. Since then, her position has changed to Program Coordinator where she continues to work with UIC students by enhancing their knowledge and appreciation for Latino cultures through various program initiatives.
Paula Bui is a Program Coordinator, with a focus on the Civic Cinema programming series, at the UIC Latino Cultural Center. As a first-generation mixed person, she is constantly digging through her roots to figure out and explore her own cultural identity. Her work background includes programming around social justice and contemporary issues in Chicago's neighborhoods. She is interested in feminism, environmental sustainability, radical love, and how to work less and live more.
Paula is passionate about leading yoga classes that are accessible for all bodies as well as AcroYoga classes in Chicago. When she isn't upside down she is also serving as an Interpreter for community organizations or baking delicious vegan sweets. She earned a BA at Loyola University Chicago but is dedicated to being a life-long student in more ways than one.
Yehimy Montes is a Program Coordinator at the UIC Latino Cultural Center (LCC). She organizes several public programs throughout the academic year including Zona Abierta (Open Zone), Telling Our Stories, and Special Events. Her concentration is in the LCC documentary series, Civic Cinema, connecting current social topics to scholars and community experts who facilitate post-screening dialogue. These documentary screenings are used as artistic tools to promote communal dialogue and inspire collective action. She also works closely with leaders of various UIC student organizations bridging their interests to the topics of LCC public programs. Her work with UIC students includes the supervision and mentorship of LCC student workers and interns by developing their academic, professional, and leadership skills as well as their intercultural capacity. She frames her work at the LCC through a lens of environmental sustainability linked to cultural heritage by designing creative outlets for students to explore and assert their identities. Yehimy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from The University of Illinois at Chicago.